Saturday, February 23, 2013

Newsprint Bags: Pre-Buy

A few days ago I posted about these newspaper bags made by street children in India. The story and message behind this organization's endeavor to house and educate school-aged street children is quite touching.

After personally speaking with someone from this company via phone, I am convinced my decision to import these bags is a good choice. Yes, yes, I know it's not an American made product. But knowing this program is helping children abroad is worthy of my support. Hurrah! Accolades to this organization for finding a creative and ingenious way to generate income for shelter and education. LOVE IT!!

Here's the PRE-BUY offer on these bags. Pre-buy deadline is March 9, 2013, 11:59 PM, EST.
Pre-payment required. Limit is 50 bags per size and shipping address must be within the continential USA. All bags have jute handles. There is a NO return policy on this pre-buy.

Orders ship week of March 11, 2013

Size #1:
11 1/2" long x 9 3/4" wide x 3 1/4" side gusset

25 bags = $26.00 USD plus $12.60 S/H
(cost per bag with shipping = $1.54)
Total cost: $38.60

50 bags = $49.00 USD plus $14.25 S/H
(cost per bag with shipping = $1.26)
Total cost: $63.25

Size #2
8" long x 5" wide x 3" side gusset

25 bags= $22.50 USD plus $9.95 S/H
(cost per bag with shipping= $1.29)
Total cost: $32.45

50 bags= $41.00 USD plus $13.50 S/H
(cost per bag with shipping= $1.09)
Total cost: $54.50

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Packaging: Making a Difference One Bag at a Time

We recently stayed at a private ski resort in Northern Michigan courtesy of my husband's employer. It was a weekend of skiing, eating and just plain fun, not to mention the awesome wine tasting the company sponsored. A trip to a nearby eclectic specialty shop brought me back to reality.

This shop was awesome beyond description. Their collection of unique items included furniture, trash to treasure, handcrafted art, vintage items and more. I could have spent hours just browsing. I made a few purchases for the grandkids. It was at check-out that my reality check kicked in.

The purchased items were placed in this newspaper bag. I thought, "How clever is that, someone is recycling newspapers". I then noted the newsprint was not in English and saw a tag attached to the jute handle. The message on the tag was the reality check.

I know I can't save the world, but here I was staying at a resort, shopping upscale boutiques, enjoying great food and wine while someone in India was making this newsprint bag to stay off the streets. Geez, what do I have to complain about? NOTHING! The income generated by these newsprint bags provides street children with education and shelter.

The workmanship is awesome and I've decided to import these bags in two sizes. They will arrive within the next month.

If you own a retail shop, I invite you to contact me about using these bags in your store. They are made from recycled material, eco-friendly and support an organization that rescues children from the streets of India.

As soon as our first shipment is received, I will post pricing information on both my blog and the GoPlanetEarth web site.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Part Two: String Easter Eggs

Started spraying the string eggs today. Tie a string to top of egg and spray (outdoors). Hang to dry, remove the string and display eggs in a bowl. I didn't have light green, light blue and lavender spray paint so my egg display will have to wait until this weekend.

This first batch of string eggs turned out farily well.  Next batch will involve starch and glue. I have some neat display ideas to share once all the eggs are painted. Stay posted.

View Part One of this tutorial.

Enjoy this President's Day.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Part One: How to Make String Easter Eggs

Now that Valentine's is over, it's time to think about Easter. This weekend is devoted to Easter crafts  and string Easter eggs is on my list. I had water balloons left over from one of the grand kids birthday parties which were the perfect size for this project.

Here's what you need:

  • Balloons
  • Elmer's Glue mixed with a little water
  • Packing string (you can also use scrap yarn)
  • Spray paint in pastel colors
  • Clear acrylic spray (optional)
Blow up balloons and tie them off. I made assorted sizes for interest. Cut eight to nine 15-18" strings per balloon and set aside while preparing glue mixture.

Squeeze out a good amount of glue onto a paper plate. Add a small amount of water and stir well. Two tablespoons of glue to 1/2 teaspoon of water should work well. If not, adjust accordingly until you have a thin .

Roll balloon in glue mixture using fingertips to apply glue to all areas. Drag a string through the glue mixture and begin wrapping around the balloon. Repeat this process until you have desired string shape.

I found having an extra paper plate of the glue mixture was helpful. After applying a piece of string, dip fingers in the second glue mixture and pat glue onto the string/balloon for better adhesion.

Criss-cross the string in various ways to get a nice effect. Before hanging to dry, use fingertips to apply a thin layer of glue onto your stringer masterpiece. Place some type of drip tray under the balloons as they dry. I just tore off a sheet of aluminum foil.

Allow string balloons to dry for 24 hours. Then pop the balloon and CAREFULLY remove the balloon. Some area of the balloon will want to stick to the string. I used a small pair of curved needle nose pliers but tweezers would also work. Gently pull the balloon away from the string and full the deflated balloon through one of the bigger string openings.

I will be posting the Part Two of this project next week. The string eggs will be spray painted in pastel Easter colors and over-coated with clear acrylic spray (to ensure sturdiness).

Friday, February 15, 2013

Green Eggs & Ham Valentine Morning

Today, Grandpa Mike (a retired Detroit Fire Chief) read Green Eggs and Ham to our grandson's pre-school class. Grandpa Mike dressed for the occasion which I thought was pretty cool. It's awesome to have such a wonderful relationship with my son-in-law's family. My daughter and son-in-law have been together since 8th grade and are now happily married with three kids. Fischer (pictured in the green shirt) is the youngest.

The book reading was a joint family effort. NeeNee packaged "SAM I AM" bubble bath for my little buddy to give to his Valentine friends. Fischer eagerly applied the ingredient labels to the finished product. Many of the labels were applied cock-eyed, but no one noticed. This was a memory in the making.

The bubble bath product was colored green and scented in GoPlanetEarth's green apple fragrance.

Below are links for the printable labels. There are plenty of companies on the Net that offer bottles and bubble bath. You can also purchase pre-scented bubble bath at your local supermarket. Check-out your local Dollar Store for inexpensive plastic bottles. You will be surprised at what you can find in the $$ stores.

The labels I created fit one-ounce Boston round bottles. Ingredient labels are in MS Publisher allowing for changes based on product ingredients. Take note that the FDA requires an ingredient label on bath products. If you would like the editable MS Publisher template for the ingredient label, email with a Subject Line: Sam I Am Ingredient Label. Ingredient labels are designed for 30-up Avery Address Labels

The bottle labels are in PDF format so NO changes can be made. We sell 8 1/2 x 11 inch high gloss paper for printing the bottle labels. It has 4 slits on the peel-off  sie of the paper making it VERY easy to remove the printed labels from the sheet. You can design and print custom labels and cut to size. Ideal for small projects such as this one. Below is a picture showing the backside of this high-gloss paper.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

How to Clean Our Soap Injector Tool

If you want to make intricate, detailed soaps, there is one tool you can't be without. It's the Soap Injector. I recommend having several on hand when pouring multiple colors. I posted about this tool here, but wanted to post an update on how to clean the tool after use. This short video clip will show you how.

Here are a few examples of what you can create using the soap injector tool.

Mold Market Music Notes Mold

As you can see, the possibilities are endless once you master this soaping tool.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Dr. Suess Party Cones

Football is not my gig. So while the Super Bowl was airing, I was making party cones. My three grand kids have birthday parties at NeeNee's house. If you ask them why, they reply, "Because you always plan fun stuff."

My daughter believes I have set a precedence and willingly resigns the party planning (though she would do an awesome job) to Mom. I'm guessing it has something to do with 'deep pockets'.

The theme for my grandson's 5th birthday is Dr. Seuss. Since the grand kids have birthdays within one or two weeks of each other, early planning is essential. Joint birthday parties are never an option (in their minds!)

Popcorn, cotton candy, assorted candies will fill the colorful cones. Here's a FREE template of the two cones. Save and print onto white card stock. Cut-out cones using the guidelines. Shape cone starting at point (point is a bit tricky). Staple the cone together at the top edge using two staples.

Remember, these are disposable items; don't labor over them. If they aren't perfect, who cares! Fill them with goodies and the kids will love them.

This is just one of the many things I've planned for this themed birthday. My son-in-law is a carpenter and will construct a life-size wooden silhouette of Cat in the Hat. I'll glue cardboard cut-outs to the silhouette and place prop next to the food table.

It will look something like this:

The best part of planning the Seuss party is it will complement the Carnival Birthday Party for my nine-year old grandson. The red, blue and white theme I'm using for table covers/skirting and decorations is easily converted into a carnival theme.

I've plenty of Seuss party games in the works, so be sure to check my blog for updates. I am stellar at party planning, especially when it's for my little peeps.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

How to Make: Minecraft Lego Valentine Tote Box

This is actually a follow-up post to the Valentine Tote Box I made from my six-year old granddaughter. Every parent and grandparent knows, what you do for one, you have to do for the other. If not, be ready to hear the words (with arms crossed), "NOT FAIR!"

Both my grandsons, ages nine and four, are obsessed with the Minecraft game on their iPods. Carrying a Valentine tote decorated in hearts and pink and red ribbons wasn't gonna cut the cheese. I decided on this Minecraft tote. It has a Valentine touch, but isn't too girlie looking.

You can glean plenty of decorating ideas using a Google search. I came up with plenty of inspiring ideas, but settled on this theme due to time constraints. I have two of these boxes to make and, like most of you, have limited hours to get everything done. This took me about 1 hour from start to finish.

My nine-year old has the Minecraft Lego set. He wanted a picture of the completed Lego set to put on the back of his tote.When positioning the picture on the box, it looked too cluttered.

No Picture = He'll get over it.

The back side of the tote box is pictured below. Heck, if you have the time, you could print and cut Minecraft characters onto the back section.
As for NeeNee (that would be me), it's not happening, but it would still be pretty cool.

Back side of Valentine Tote Box

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Make a Valentine Tote Box

I couldn't stop myself from sharing this Valentine tote box I made for my six-year granddaughter. She is already excited about the handmade Valentine cards she will be giving to classmates. But, this savvy (one-of-a-kind, "no one else will have anything this cool") box to tote home Valentine cards and candy put an even BIGGER smile on her face.

There are always plenty of recycled postal boxes sitting around the warehouse. I am all about finding ways to re-purpose things. This tote is constructed from a 12.5 x 3 x 15.25 postal box covered in brown Kraft paper from our shipping department.

I cut along one long edge of the box and folded and taped the box to hide the mailing label and postal logos.

The box was then covered with paper using the same technique you would use to wrap a gift. Double sided tape is best since it gives a nice clean finish.

Cut an opening in the box for classmates to drop in cards and candy treats. Use a Phillips screwdriver to make two evenly spaced holes in the top of the box for the ribbon handle.
Cut a length of ribbon the size you want for the handle. Knot one end of the ribbon and thread through one of the holes (thread the ribbon by placing you hand into the opening). Thread the other end of the ribbon into the second hole. Knot and tie the end of the ribbon. It doesn't hurt to place a square of duct tape over the ribbon ends (inside the box) to make sure the handle is secure.
There are many other ways to wrap the box with the paper. My second and third attempts (for the other two grand kids), I found other ways to wrap the box. I can't say they were easier, but the final outcome looked more professional.

Considering this is a disposable item, I wouldn't spend an excessive time on the wrapping end. What kids will notice most is the ribbon and decorative pieces that you add. So don't obsess about how you wrap the box.

Once the opening is made and the handle attached, you are left to your own decorative ideas. I tend to have plenty of ribbon and leftover craft items from projects I do with the grand kids. If you don't have ribbon, print out decorative papers (Google for some great idea) or use scrapbook papers.

Scrap booking punches offer a huge variety of shapes, as does foam shapes.

Back side of the Valentine Tote Box
You can also spray paint the box instead of wrapping with Kraft or wrapping paper. It's Winter here in Michigan, and only an idiot would spray paint anything outside in below freezing temps. Personally, the Kraft paper was a less expensive option for me. Like I mentioned before, this is a disposable item. Keep it simple!